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Here’s The Chatter On San Diego’s Proposed Climate Action Plan

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A majority on the San Diego City Council is apparently ready to move forward on an ambitious Climate Action Plan and it wants Mayor Kevin Faulconer to pick up the pace.

Several city council members and environmental groups say the mayor is taking too long to advance a plan handed to him five months ago. The plan was spearheaded by Council President Todd Gloria.

The plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2020 and 49 percent by 2035 and focuses on five main areas:

•Energy and water efficient buildings

•Clean and renewable energy

•Multimodal transportation options

•Zero waste management

•Urban forest and local food production

The City Council will vote Thursday on a resolution that urges Faulconer to finalize the draft plan.

In the meantime, local business leaders and realtors say the Climate Action Plan as proposed is too aggressive and would hurt the local economy. Earlier this year they sent a letter to Gloria saying the city should instead focus on voluntary and incentive-based programs.

Here is some of the chatter on the Climate Action Plan:

Mayor Kevin Faulconer

Photo caption:

City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

The mayor told KPBS Midday Edition: "I'm a strong supporter of protecting our environment. We are moving the climate action plan forward. It's out for review right now to city departments to see how it will work."

He also said to expect a public hearing in spring 2015 on the plan. A spokesman told KPBS an update to the plan will be released to the public in September and the hiring process is underway for a sustainability manager who will oversee the plan's implementation.

Council President Todd Gloria

Photo caption:

San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria

In a editorial in the U-T he said: "Global warming is an issue that is impacted by local action. Waiting for Washington, D.C., to act on this critical issue will be wasted time that will be far better used implementing sensible local strategies that can be replicated in other regions that share San Diego’s goal of preserving our environment and quality of life."

Leslie Kilpatrick, board president, San Diego Association of Realtors

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Courtesy of By George Strategies

San Diego Association of Realtors Board President Leslie Kilpatrick

In an editorial in U-T San Diego, she said: "The plan proposes several mandatory energy- and water-efficiency upgrades on homeowners, small-business owners, and also on people who want to add onto their property ... the mandates in the climate action plan would require you to pay these out-of-pocket expenses before a sale can occur, meaning the mandates could lock you into your home until you are able to save thousands of dollars to make the required improvements."

Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, District 6

Photo caption:

San Diego City Councilwoman Lorie Zapt, District 6

A spokesperson tells KPBS: "Generally, council member Zapf supports a climate action plan. She has concerns with the draft that came to the Committee on Environment on July 23rd. She wants to have target goals instead of mandated goals. She would also rather have the language include incentives instead of mandates. There could be significant potential costs to homeowners with mandates, which could put an undue burden on fixed or low-income homeowners."

Kayla Race, policy advocate, Environmental Health Coalition

In a press release: “San Diego is already experiencing the impacts of climate change—from the recent droughts and wildfires, to the health impacts of heat waves and air pollution – and these impacts disproportionately burden low-income neighborhoods, we can’t afford to delay climate action any longer. We’re calling on Mayor Faulconer to deliver an aggressive climate action plan now and start creating real results and positive change for all San Diegans.”

Councilman Scott Sherman, District 7

Photo caption:

San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman, District 7

A spokesperson tells KPBS: "The council member is concerned about certain aspects of Council President Gloria’s plan regarding the required retrofitting of homes and businesses that will cost working families, small businesses and seniors thousands of dollars in additional costs that many cannot afford. The council member hopes to work with his council colleagues and the Mayor’s Office to find common ground on this important issue."


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